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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pictures of Syrian nuke reactor bombed by Israel

Following up on a tip from Dan Riehl based on an article from this morning's Washington Post, Allahpundit has before and after images of the Syrian nuclear reactor that was bombed by Israel on September 6 against the 'advice' of Condoleeza Rice and Bob Gates.
Photographs of the site taken before the secret Sept. 6 airstrike depict an isolated compound that includes a tall, boxy structure similar to the type of building used to house a gas-graphite reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, say experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site, who were shown the photographs yesterday, said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked.

The compound’s distance from populated areas was a key detail, since reactors are usually isolated from major urban populations.

The site is also close to an irrigated area, which would explain statements by some officials privy to details of the attack that the facility was located near orchards. A small airstrip about two miles away could have been used to transport personnel to the site.
Read the whole thing and look at the rest of the pictures.

The Post article raises the question of why Israel didn't run to the IAEA. That question was raised on Sunday and I dealt with it then:

The Post also reports that 'weapons experts' are questioning why neither Israel nor the United States contacted the International Atomic Energy Agency before or since the attack.
"The reason we have an IAEA and a safeguard system is that, if there is evidence of wrongdoing, it can be presented by a neutral body to the international community so that a collective response can be pursued," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. "It seems to me highly risky and premature for another country to bomb such a facility."
After all, the IAEA has just been so effective in dealing with Iran.... And it would have made a lot of sense for Israel and the US to report Syria to an organization of which Syria is the vice chairman and would have had access to all of the top secret intelligence submitted.... Blithering idiots!
Finally, Allah asks why Israel decided to bomb the reactor so soon:
The real question is why Israel acted now when the reactor surely wouldn’t have been completed for years. Just sending a message to Iran? If so, it was an awfully high-stakes message.
Israel's assessment from the outset was that Syria would not respond. Syria has no air force of which to speak (recall that last summer, Israel's air force buzzed Assad's summer palace with impunity). Israel knew going in that it could neutralize the Pantsyr missile system. Even if it was wrong in its assessment that it could neutralize the Pantsyr, Israel believed that Syria would shoot down the bombers and be done at that. Iran is not ready to go to war now; it does not want to give Israel or the US an excuse to attack its uncompleted nuclear plants. In sum, the risk of war with Syria and Iran as a result of the Israeli action was judged to be tolerable.

That leaves Hezbullah. Hezbullah is not ready to conduct a proxy war for Syria or Iran right now either and Israel knew it. A month later, the rest of us knew it too:
Hizbullah Stressed that it would not go into war with Israel if Syria and Iran were attacked by the Jewish state or the United States.

The stand was outlined by Hizbullah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan in an interview with Naharnet.


In answering a question as to what would Hizbullah's reaction be if Iran was targeted by a military strike, Hajj Hassan said: "We would denounce and reject this strike."

What next?

"Just denunciation and rejection. Nothing more," he stressed. "As a Lebanese citizen I say that I will denounce and deplore and carry out demonstrations. This is certain."

However, he said "Things would be considered on time."
By the way, Hezbullah may not be willing to go to war for Syria or Iran, but its attitude to Lebanon itself is a different story:
Hajj Hassan warned against adoption of a law by the U.S. Congress to partition Lebanon similar to the law that adopts a federal approach to the Iraqi state.

He pledged that Hizbullah would confront such an alleged U.S. Scheme if it targeted Lebanon.

In answering a question as to How would Hizbullah confront such an alleged plan, Hajj Hassan said: "like we responded in the July (2006) war in case a war was staged on us, and we will confront politically if that (war) did not happen."

If war targeted you or your allies? Hajj Hassan was asked.

"If it targeted us, directly us, our allies know how to defend themselves," he stressed in reference to Tehran and Damascus.
Bottom line: the risks of the Israeli attack on Syria were not quite what much of the world saw them to be. Waiting for Syria to be further along was not going to stop the Syrians and the North Koreans from constructing the facility; instead it was more likely to leave Israel with a situation analogous to what's going on with Iran today. All other things being equal, it's simpler and cheaper to nip problems in the bud.


At 3:43 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

Thank G_d for Israel.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Robin Epstein said...


See the article by Stanley Kurtz at National Review for more information:


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